Online Collection

Yashica 44-LM twin-lens reflex camera

Object Number: 2015.009.0001
Category: Artifacts
Original owner: Jim Towner
Type of Object: Camera
Date: 1958
Dimensions: 5 1/8 × 3 3/4 × 3 1/4 in. (13 × 9.5 × 8.3 cm)
Medium: plastic, Metal
One Yashica 44-LM twin-lens 35mm still camera used by Jim Towner to take pictures in Dealey Plaza on Friday, November 22, 1963, before and after shots were fired. Towner was standing on the south side of Elm Street, across from the Texas School Book Depository, with his wife Patricia and daughter Tina, who was filming the motorcade. He took pictures of the presidential limousine turning onto Elm Street from Houston Street and three more pictures in the minutes right after the assassination.

This camera was made by the Yashica Company, Ltd., of Japan. Twin-lens cameras have the viewfinder lens on top, and the picture was formed through the bottom lens. The camera's shutter speed and aperture settings were made with the small, silver thumb wheels seen at the center on either side of the bottom lens. The black knobs on the sides of the camera set focus and advanced the roll of 127 format 35mm film. The camera's serial number is 166090732, and it was manufactured in the early 1960s.

Curator's Notes

The two Towner cameras are both on display in the Museum's exhibit "John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation." - Lindsey Richardson, Curator of Collections

Investigators were not aware of the Towner images until they appeared in the November 24, 1967 issue of Life magazine.  Jim told me he loaned the pictures and film to The Dallas Morning News soon after the assassination and was under the impression they would notify authorities about them.  There are no known FBI or other reports about the Towner images until the work of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s. - Gary Mack, Curator

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